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Ye Olde Conflicting Interview Dates Question


minds
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Hello, all. I just wanted to solicit your opinions on what may be my best option in a situation that isn't entirely unique, but I feel is unique enough to warrant me asking a question that has been asked many times already.

So, I received an interview invite very early in the game from a school that is close to my home, moderately ranked, and has a somewhat decent research match, according to my own interests. More recently, I received an invite from a similarly ranked school with a much closer research fit. Both dates offered conflicted with previous interview invitations, so they offered me a Skype interview. However, I really want to visit this second school and I am worried that a Skype interview might be unfulfilling, for both the interviewers and myself. I also think that, given the choice, the second school would rank higher for me on a personal level. 

Now, I do not want to cut ties with this first school, but I know that they have multiple interview dates and that I am within driving distance, so they have not had to buy flight tickets. What I am currently debating is if it might be detrimental to my chances with the first school if I asked for either an alternate date or offered to visit the school and chat with faculty at an unofficial time, seeing as how I live very close by. I also wonder if it would look weird to the second school if I told them that, because I really want to visit in person, I have rearranged my schedule to allow me to attend one of the previously-offered dates. 

My other choice would be to simply go along with the Skype interview. However, I feel that if I did this and was eventually not accepted to this school, I would regret not making the prior choice. 

I know this question has been played out many times before, but I would appreciate any questions or advice that any of you might be able to send my way. Thank you all.

Edited by minds
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40 minutes ago, minds said:

Hello, all. I just wanted to solicit your opinions on what may be my best option in a situation that isn't entirely unique, but I feel is unique enough to warrant me asking a question that has been asked many times already.

So, I received an interview invite very early in the game from a school that is close to my home, moderately ranked, and has a somewhat decent research match, according to my own interests. More recently, I received an invite from a similarly ranked school with a much closer research fit. Both dates offered conflicted with previous interview invitations, so they offered me a Skype interview. However, I really want to visit this second school and I am worried that a Skype interview might be unfulfilling, for both the interviewers and myself. I also think that, given the choice, the second school would rank higher for me on a personal level. 

Now, I do not want to cut ties with this first school, but I know that they have multiple interview dates and that I am within driving distance, so they have not had to buy flight tickets. What I am currently debating is if it might be detrimental to my chances with the first school if I asked for either an alternate date or offered to visit the school and chat with faculty at an unofficial time, seeing as how I live very close by. I also wonder if it would look weird to the second school if I told them that, because I really want to visit in person, I have rearranged my schedule to allow me to attend one of the previously-offered dates. 

My other choice would be to simply go along with the Skype interview. However, I feel that if I did this and was eventually not accepted to this school, I would regret not making the prior choice. 

I know this question has been played out many times before, but I would appreciate any questions or advice that any of you might be able to send my way. Thank you all.

The on-site interview is really for you. You won't get dinged in terms of admissions for doing a Skype interview, but if you really are interested in the institution than I would highly recommend you visit in person in order to get a better feel for the personal and research fit.

I would ask the first school for alternate dates, especially because you will not be altering airfare. Do not worry about this affecting your chances, as the person organizing the weekend and the admissions committee will be fully separate. This is very common, especially with schools that offer interviews early. I would personally try your hardest to attend all interviews in person so as to get the best feel for the programs.

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2 hours ago, BiomedicalPHD said:

The on-site interview is really for you. You won't get dinged in terms of admissions for doing a Skype interview, but if you really are interested in the institution than I would highly recommend you visit in person in order to get a better feel for the personal and research fit.

I would ask the first school for alternate dates, especially because you will not be altering airfare. Do not worry about this affecting your chances, as the person organizing the weekend and the admissions committee will be fully separate. This is very common, especially with schools that offer interviews early. I would personally try your hardest to attend all interviews in person so as to get the best feel for the programs.

Thank you for putting it like that for me. I haven't really thought about the fact that the organizer and the admissions committee are separate. Some people have said that to ask to change an interview date after already setting one up is a bad move, but I think that because I would be willing to visit at faculty's leisure, it might not be such a mark against me. Thank you, again, for offering your opinion.

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Agreed with the advice you've received about the first school.

As for the second school, it's not weird at all that you are now requesting an in-person visit. I don't know how recently you've received the invite from the second school. If it's really recent then you should be fine but if you mean "recently" as in weeks ago and/or the visit date is coming up really soon, then it could be an issue for them to have to plan for you to come in person all of a sudden.

But if the timelines are good, you can just let the second school know that due to some changing circumstances, you are now available to visit them in person and would like to do so as long as it's okay with them still! Good luck :)

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